Short Story The Warmth of the Son
The Warmth of the Son
By Amber D. Schamel
He sat there, leaning against the side of a hard, cold concrete building. His teeth chattered as he rubbed his hands together feebly trying to warm them. His tattered clothes offered little warmth in the dampness of the morning. He hugged his knees to his chest and rocked back and forth. He glanced up at the building towering over him and wondered how much longer until the sun would rise. A newspaper blew across the Chicago Street and somewhere, a dog howled. His rigid face tried to smile. “He must be cold too.” Then he sighed, “Try to think about something else.”
His thoughts drifted to his life before this Great Depression. He had been the manager of one of the leading banks in Chicago and had a grand apartment downtown. But when the banks failed, so did he. And now, here he was, on the street, with nothing to call his own other than the rags on his back. He had even lost his hat at the river when he had nearly lost his life.
The sun was beginning to come up now. The sad, angry red haze that rested over the city seemed to be appropriate for the circumstance. As the sun rose, the shadows began to appear. A ray of sunlight rested about three feet from where he was sitting, curled up against the icy cold building. He could see the puffs of his breath as he struggled to get his stiff frame to move. He moved into the light. Immediately the warmth of the sun encompassed him like an affectionate embrace from a loved one. Slowly his stiff fingers began to thaw and it seemed his mind was thawing as well. Energy & strength accompanied the warmth returning to his body.
Suddenly, a thought struck him. He looked around and noticed that, besides his ray of sunshine, shadows enveloped the rest of the alley. Everything around him was still in darkness and was cold and damp. The darkness of the shadows seemed stifling. But none of that affected him, for he was in the sun.
His heart leapt with joy. “My heart is the same.” He thought aloud. “I once was stiff and cold, but now it has all changed. The darkness and shadows around don’t affect me, because I have stepped into the sunshine of God’s Son.” He smiled peacefully and dwelt on that a moment.
Yes, today something would change. Today something would be right. Because no matter what shadows lurked about him, he would walk in the warmth of the Son.
© 2010 Amber D. Schamel
The Foolish Princess
By Amber D. Schamel
“No, it can’t be true! I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it for one minute!” The shakiness in the Princess voice challenged her statement.
“I’m so sorry My Lady; I would never jest about such a fate befalling our King.” The noble Knight bowed his head in condolence to the young Princess.
“Why didn’t you do something? How could you let them kill him?” She shouted. The Princess could not see in her rage how these words pierced like a dagger into the faithful Knight’s heart.
“In the fury of the ambush, I became separated from His Majesty. I tried to reach him, but it was too late. The arrow of the enemy struck him down.” He replied in a small voice.
The Princess hands began to tremble as the reality of his words sank deep into her heart. What would happen to her now? And what of the kingdom? She knew she was incapable of ruling the kingdom on her own. And the servants! They may revolt! With her father gone, she was now unprotected, alone and completely without hope. Her blue eyes filled with tears as her panic rose. She stood speechless for a moment then her legs gave way and she crumpled to a sobbing bundle on the floor.
The Knight hesitated. What could he say? “My Lady, I’m so sorry. I…I can understand what you’re feeling, he was like a father to me as well.”
“No. You could never understand.” Her voice cracked and she took in a sharp breath. How could she stay here? Could this enormous lonely castle be home without her father? Is this still where she belonged? As she sobbed she realized that she could never stay here, not without her father. In one sudden, swift movement she sprang up from where she had collapsed and ran down the hall toward the castle gate.
“Princess! Wait! Come back!” The Knight called after her. But she didn’t hear. The gate of the castle creaked as she pushed them open and bolted for the forest. She ran as swiftly as she could until her legs would no longer carry her. She slumped behind a tree and tried to think, but there was nothing but a dead silence inside of her. In one moment her whole world had shattered.
Little did the princess know she had a very large inheritance left to her, which included a very large army, hundreds of servants and almost the whole kingdom.
Now, the princess’ father had an enemy. He was a Deceiver, but most called him “Lord.” He was very handsome, but very sly, and possessed a bitter hatred toward the King; this made him want to jump at the slightest chance to destroy anything the King loved. So when he heard that the princess was oblivious to her inheritance, he was determined to make sure she didn’t get it. He would trick her into walking with him down the very path that would lead to her death.
The Deceiver set off on his journey to find her. He found the princess wandering in a field, not knowing what to do, or where to go next.
After studying her for a minute, the Deceiver approached her. The princess was sitting on a rock. Her auburn hair tangled from the wind, her blue and purple gown torn, her eyes full of tears and loneliness. She looked up and saw the Deceiver coming towards her. His dark wavy hair was flowing in the gentle breeze, the sun shone on his darkened skin. His eyes gazed into hers, but she could not read them. They
were mysterious and warm, yet in some way cold. Then the Deceiver smiled. The smile promised such warmth and understanding.
Then with the softest of tones, the Deceiver spoke. “What could trouble you on a beautiful day like this?”
How could the princess explain the feeling inside of her? Cold, empty, lonely, afraid, confused? No. It was more than that. She felt that no one in this world could ever love her. The Deceiver knew this, and would use it to annihilate her.
The Deceiver sat down beside her. “Come now, you can tell me. I’ll do whatever I can to help.” He said tenderly.
The Princess said nothing. She looked up at the Deceiver. He seemed so kind.
“Alright then,” the Deceiver said, “Come with me and I will take you to get something to eat. That should cheer you up. It’s not safe to leave such a pretty thing as you all alone.” then with a charming smile the Deceiver helped the princess off the rock, and together they walked toward the town.
As they walked the Deceiver persuaded the princess to talk to him. Soon he had her laughing and talking freely. By the time they reached a lodge she had forgotten, at least for now, about all her difficulties.
The Deceiver looked at the princess. “You miss your father, don’t you?”
The princess lowered her head as her eyes filled with tears. “Yes,” then she looked hopefully at him. “Did you know him?”
“Very well” the Deceiver lied. “He was a good man.”
The Deceiver lifted the princess’ chin and looked affectionately into her eyes. “The reason I came to find you, is because your father wanted me to take you to a special place he has for you. Come with me, and I will take you there.”
Something told the princess she shouldn’t believe him, but she could not fathom that this man, who looked so tenderly into her eyes, would ever harm her. Thoughts raced through her mind, but she didn’t have time to answer. “It’s all settled then. I’ll meet you outside.”
With that the Deceiver walked out the door of the lodge leaving the princess to her thoughts.
Once outside, the Deceiver slipped into the shadows. “Judas!” he whispered harshly. The warmth in his eyes that had been present only a moment ago was replaced with a cool hatred.
A raspy voice answered, “Yes My Lord.” as a murky figure emerged from the darkness.
“Go ahead of us, make sure everything’s ready… And Judas, make sure He doesn’t find you.”
“Yes, my Lord.” and Judas slipped quickly out of sight.
The Deceiver stepped back into the light just as the Princess came out of the lodge. “Are you ready?”
The Princess took a deep breath. “If that is what father wants, yes, I’ll go.”
Judas slinked along the path, staying in the shadows. But he did not notice the horsemen coming up behind him. One of the horsemen spotted him. “There, in the shadows! Halt!”
Judas glanced behind him and saw the symbol of the Fleur De Lis on the banner. “No!” he whispered. “It’s them! The Great Master‘s Calvary! “He ran as fast as he could into the forest trying to escape.
Judas froze, not by his own will, but because of the authority in the horseman’s voice.
He turned to face the horsemen, who at once recognized him.
“The Master will wish to question you.”
Before Judas could object he was standing before the Great Master, the Master of all.
The Princess and the Deceiver had been walking for a long time. The Princess tender feet were sore and she wished to turn back.
“I should have thought.” The Deceiver said sympathetically. “It isn’t fit for a lovely princess to walk all this way. I should have brought a horse for you. But you’re strength is great. We are nearly there.”
With this encouragement, the Princess trudged on and soon heard the sound of rushing water. It was a river, and it was raging furiously as they approached its edge. The Deceiver stepped onto the bridge, but the Princess hesitated. She stared at the furious current.
“Princess.” the Deceiver pulled her back to the moment. He offered his hand to her. She reluctantly took it and they crossed the bridge.
When they reached the other side, the Deceiver smiled viciously at her. “Welcome to my side of the river Princess.” A horde of dark creatures rapidly advanced upon her, bearing ropes and whips. They tied her hands helplessly behind her back.
“Now I will finally get my revenge on your father!” the Deceiver laughed.
Fear pierced her heart as the creatures began to beat her and pull out her hair. They tore at her dress and blood was streaming from her cheek.
Suddenly, a loud voice hindered them. “Deceiver Stop!”
The Princess’ eyes searched for the source of the commanding voice. She looked up and saw a man in white robes standing on a rock, His auburn hair flowing in the breeze.
The Deceiver whirled around to face him. “You can’t stop me! She came by her own will!” the Deceiver screeched. Then a sly grin crossed over his face. “But… there is one alternative.”
“Then so be it!” Her Deliverer thundered. The Deceiver stood shocked as the Deliverer took a dagger and cut the cords that bound the Princess. When she looked into her Deliverer’s loving brown eyes, the Princess couldn’t move. A feeling swept over her that she couldn’t understand.
Her Deliverer turned to face the Deceiver, and dropped the dagger at his feet. “It is written ‘… all is accomplished by His anguish… My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous.”
The Deceiver stared at him in bewilderment; then smiled so wickedly that the entire forest shivered at the sight. He signaled to his creatures and they immediately bound the Deliverer with the ropes and
began to torture him. They beat him with their fist and with their whips until his snow white robes were covered in blood.
“Please, no! Stop!” the Princess tried to push through the horde but was beaten to the ground by one of the creatures. She lay there in horror as the Deceiver picked up the blade and raised it above his head.
“NOOOO!” then there was a horrid silence as the blade pierced through her Deliverer’s heart. The Princess could not tell how many minutes passed.
“He’s dead! The son of the Great Master is dead!” The Deceiver cried victoriously. The creatures echoed his cry.
As the Princess gaped at the limp body on the ground, all else seemed to fade away. She did not notice that the creatures, which had been all around her, had now gone across the bridge to seek new victims.
As she sat in the dirt she realized what had just happened. She curled up buried her face in her hands and wept. Then a comforting voice whispered into her ear.
She looked up and saw her Deliverer smiling tenderly at her. He looked just the same as he had before, except now he was wearing a red sash and his face was shining with love and victory.
“You… were… dead!” the bewildered Princess stammered.
“Shhh, it’s all right now. You’re free. The Deceiver has no power over you.”
“But… I don’t understand... Why did you…? How could you…?”
“My beloved Princess, it does not need to be understood now. Someday, you will understand. Come it is time to go home.”
He took her hand and together they crossed the bridge. A beautiful, gleaming staircase stood before them that led up into the clouds. Her Deliverer began to ascend the staircase.
“Home?” The princess asked in confusion.
“Yes. Come.” And he led her up the staircase into his beautiful city.
©2009 Amber D. Schamel
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Amber Schamel was born in Littleton, CO and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She was raised in a family of 11 children, home-schooled through education and currently works with their 10 family businesses. Amber is a multi-published author and currently lives with her family outside of Colorado Springs, CO..
(c) 2013 Amber Schamel